April is the best time to start your new swimming regimen. Do it in style at one of Mandarin Oriental's pools worldwide
Zoë Manzi, Editor, MO magazine, The Condé Nast Publications
As far as I'm concerned, April is the new January. At the beginning of 2016, my friends were regaling me with tales of how they were giving up alcohol or sugar; or were fasting for two days of the week in an attempt to discover a 'new you'. I'm more about 'being you' than 'renewing you' and don't believe that cold, grey, dreary January is the time for such deprivation. Nope, it's all about April for me. Spring is here, summer is round the proverbial corner, and I'm getting ready for it.
Last year, after many years of putting it off, I finally learned to swim properly. I have been reading about Steven Shaw and his Art of Swimming method, which focuses on body alignment and posture, ever since I acknowledged the fact that submerging my head underwater threw me into a blind panic. Taught in over eight countries and developed by Shaw over 20 years, a quarter of which were spent as a competitive swimmer, the Shaw Method is also the only swimming system that has been endorsed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique and the Pilates Foundation, so it immediately appealed. As a fantastic all-round workout, and excellent cardiovascular exercise, learning to fine-tune my technique and breathing was a win win, and soon I found my back pain alleviating and my sense of wellbeing increase exponentially.
Mandarin Oriental has, of course, a plethora of pools, which are guaranteed to inspire your inner Hollywood's Esther Williams. Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, Paris and New York (pictured above) have the holy trinity of indoor pools. London's is 17 metres long with hi ozone water that leaves your skin as soft as it was before your dip, while in Paris' pool you will be transfixed by the fluttering birds and butterflies that accompany you on your lengths. In New York's pool, you are literally swimming in the clouds. It's a stunning sensation.
Prefer swimming outdoors? Take your pick from more Mandarin Oriental pools around the world. Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas has two, set around a stylish sunbathing deck; Singapore's 25-metre pool comes with impressive skyscraper views, while the pool at Terrat at Barcelona, is ideal for a summer cool down. Drinks, snacks and lush surrounds are on offer by the freeform pool at Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta, while Miami and Kuala Lumpur both have fabulous infinity pools overlooking the sea and city respectively. And at Sanya, the choice of pools will certainly please the whole family.